Al Basti Equiworld, Dubai Flying Five Stakes (Group 1)

“I think he had as much chance today as Munster beating the All Blacks, so lightning does strike twice,” said Donal Spring, joyous in the winner’s enclosure after the horse he bred and owns Moss Tucker (16/1) completed a remarkable ascension to the top of the sprinting tree with victory in the Al Basti Equiworld, Dubai Flying Five Stakes at the Curragh on Sunday.

Spring represented Munster and Ireland, and was a part of the former team that legendarily defeated the All Blacks in 1978. He named this son of Excelebration after two of his teammates that day, Colm Tucker and Moss Keane, who are sadly no longer with us.

“There are two guys up there looking down on us, Moss Keane and Colm Tucker, and he embodies everything that they were about, pure heart, toughness and give it your all,” Spring added.

Moss Tucker also did with that Munster team had to do, defend against a heavily favoured foreign challenge, this time in the form of a pair of British-trained sprinters. It is no secret that the Irish sprinting sector lacks the strength of Britain’s and while last year’s winner Highfield Princess disappointed this time around, it looked like Clive Cox’s Get Ahead and James Fanshawe’s Equality would dominate the finish coming into the final furlong.

However Moss Tucker put his head down for regular partner Billy Lee, and simply outfought that raiding duo for a famous win.

“It’s been a great story with this horse, he has just kept improving,” winning trainer Ken Condon said. “You’re going in and thinking if he got placed, it would be great but then the heavens opened before racing and you’re thinking he could do something.

“I thought he got a superb ride. Billy was brilliant and he had a willing partner. It’s a great game when it works out.”

Sometimes things are meant to be and the rain Condon referred to might well have made the difference. Lee referred to that factor in his appraisal: “The rain definitely helped. It’s not bad ground but it is soft. He enjoys a bit of juice in it. It was ideal.

“When they quickened inside the ‘two’ I thought I was going to be third or fourth, but at the furlong pole I thought I had a chance there, but he’s all heart, he dug deep and outbattled them. It’s great for Ken, quiet season but one horse can make the difference.”